Part of "A Journey to Charis"
I used to substitute teach and I really loved it. There was always a new adventure everyday, and I loved seeing how different teachers ran their classrooms. The younger grades were always fun because they like to help you do things just the way their teacher does them, and they are very eager to help you get it right.
One day I made a big mistake. I said a word that their teacher, apparently, would never dare to say. It was banned from the classroom because it was so bad. I realized I had done something wrong when suddenly the entire class gasped and got pretty wide-eyed.
What? Is there a big spider behind me, I thought.
Then they started whispering.
Did I say something wrong, I asked.
Yes, you said a really bad word, they assured me.
I couldn't for the life of me think what it was. So I dared to ask.
Mrs. Z, you said STUPID.
Why is that a bad word? This was before I had kids of my own and I could experience, first hand, how "stupid" can be used as a lethal weapon in verbal battle.
I explained my word choice, clarifying how I thought it was demeaning for people to call one another stupid, but how sometimes I used the word as a companion with choice, to show how there are always wise choices and stupid choices and that they have positive and negative consequences. For the students' well being, I didn't want them to make stupid choices, because then they would have to live with the consequences. But they could always correct a stupid choice by choosing a wiser choice. There are second chances.
So in conclusion, I reasoned, I don't think anyone is stupid, but that there are definitely stupid choices that we can make if we don't use our noggins.
Apparently that went over alright, because they didn't tell on me, and I got asked to sub again in their classroom. Several times. Phew.
Lately, I have been using another very terrible bad word. Probably for the last couple of years, it has seeped into my lexicon. Are you ready for it?
I know, you are shocked, right?
This word has just seemed appropriate for the stuff I have dealt with in recent months. Depression and anxiety are full of it. Disease is full of it. The imbalances in my hormones and glandular issues are full of it. How all this has affected my family is full of it. What I've seen happen lately in the various relationships of people I love is full of it, too.
I read a blog post that gave me some unexpected hope about this word. Donald Miller said that "Our crap can grow a garden." That statement itself made me laugh out loud and maybe snort a little, too. My kids asked me why I was laughing, so I told them. We had a big discussion about all the things in life that can be crap. Then we talked about how God can use it for good and actually utilize something disgusting to grow something beautiful. It's really a pretty amazing concept when you consider it... when you start thinking about how He can transform things in such a radical way.
It's even in the Bible. It is usually translated as "rubbish."
"Indeed, I count everything as loss because of the surpassing worth of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord. For his sake I have suffered the loss of all things and count them as rubbish, in order that I may gain Christ..."
But the word rubbish is actually skuvbalon which means dung or crap. (There is your Greek lesson for the day. You're welcome.) All that suffering and loss (crap) is nothing compared to the beauty of Christ and what we gain in Him. This I need to remember. That He is somehow transforming all of this to grow a garden that will display His beauty and glory.
Spring is coming.